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Your Checkup

  • February is American Heart Month

    by Haley Thomas | Feb 21, 2017

    February is American Heart Month and this year’s focus is that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both American men and women. Approximately 610,000 Americans die from heart disease every year, accounting for 1 in 4 deaths in the United States.  Nearly half of Americans (49%) have at least one risk factor for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, obesity, physical inactivity, or an unhealthy diet. Risk also increases with age.

    The good news is that heart disease can often be prevented in individuals of all ages when they make healthy lifestyle changes and manage medical conditions through appropriate treatment options. Communities, health care providers, and families can work together to make healthier choices.

    While some individuals do not experience any symptoms of heart disease, others may have heavy sharp chest pain or discomfort, pain in the neck/jaw/throat, or pain in the upper abdomen or back. According to the CDC, heart disease may be silent and can sometimes go undiagnosed until an individual experiences signs or symptoms including:

    • Heart Attack: Chest pain or discomfort, upper back pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea/vomiting, extreme fatigue, upper body discomfort, and shortness of breath.
    • Arrhythmia: Flutter feelings in the chest.
    • Heart Failure: Shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling of the feet/ankles/legs/abdomen.
    • Stroke: Sudden weakness, paralysis (inability to move), or numbness of the face/arms/legs, especially on one side of the body. Other symptoms may include confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech, difficulty seeing in one or both eyes, shortness of breath, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, loss of consciousness, or sudden and severe headache.

    According to the CDC, you can lower the risk of heart disease and a heart attack by taking simple steps.

    • Eat healthy. Eat a healthy diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free of low-fat milk and milk products. Choose foods low in saturated fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.
    • Exercise regularly. Adults need a total of 150 minutes (or 2 hours and 30 minutes) of exercise each week. You can spread your activity out during the week and can break it up into small chunks of time during the day.
    • Be smoke-free. If you are ready to quit smoking, schedule an appointment with your doctor for ways to stop smoking.
    • Limit alcohol use. Alcohol use can lead to long-term health problems, including heart disease and cancer. If you do choose to drink, do so in moderation, which is no more than one drink a day for women. Do not drink at all if you are pregnant.
    • Know your family history.  There may be factors that could increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
    • Manage and medical condition you might have. Learn the ABCs of heart health. Keep them in mind every day and especially when you talk to your health provider:
      • Appropriate aspirin therapy for those who need it
      • Blood pressure control
      • Cholesterol management
      • Smoking cessation

    Heart disease can often be prevented by adopting a heart healthy lifestyle. For example, follow a healthy diet, stop smoking, exercise regularly, limit alcohol use, and know your family history.

    Dr. Sell, a family physician at Family Medicine Associates in Rockford stated, “A healthy heart is the most important thing you can do, but it is perhaps the most difficult thing to sustain. You may need the counsel of your doctor or dietician to embark on the best path.” 

    If lifestyle changes aren’t enough, you may need certain medications or other appropriate treatment options to control your heart disease risk factors.

    For more information on heart disease, visit
    http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/basics/definition/con-20034056 and https://www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/index.html

  • Seasonal Flu

    by Haley Thomas | Feb 15, 2017


    Seasonal influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory disease caused by flu viruses. The flu can cause mild to severe illness, and can sometimes lead to death. According to the Ohio Department of Health, flu season in Ohio can begin as early as October and run as late as March. Unlike a cold, flu symptoms typically come on very suddenly. Individuals who experience some or all of the following symptoms should contact their health care provider right away:


    • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
    • Cough
    • Sore throat
    • Runny or stuffy nose
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headaches
    • Fatigue (feeling tired)
    • Some people may have vomiting or diarrhea, but this is usually more common in children than adults.

    *It is important to note that not everyone with the flu will have a fever.

    Most people who get the flu will recover in a few days to less than a couple weeks, but some people develop complications, such as pneumonia, as a result of the flu, some of which can be life-threatening and result in death. Each year, an estimated 200,000 people are hospitalized with the flu in the United States and is estimated that, on average, there are more than 20,000 flu-related deaths. Many of these deaths could have possibly been prevented with a flu vaccine.

    According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) anyone, including healthy people, can get the flu and flu-related complications can happen at any age, but some individuals are at high risk for these serious complications. This includes people 65 years of age and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart-disease), pregnant women, and young children.

    It is important to know that a flu shot is prevention and there’s still time to get one this year, until March 31st. Contact your doctor’s office or a local pharmacy to schedule an appointment today.

    For more information, click on the following links:

  • Recipe– Chocolate Ginger Mousse

    by Haley Thomas | Feb 14, 2017

    Chocolate Ginger Mousse– 175 calories, 4.5 grams fat

    Let’s face it—Valentine’s Day is incomplete without chocolate! You would never guess that this creamy mousse recipe from Chef Anthony Stewart is sugar-free with zero grams of trans fat!  This dessert has a deliciously rich chocolate flavor that masks healthy ingredients like tofu and ginger juice. 


    • 4 oz. Hershey unsweetened cocoa powder  
    • 1/4 c. hot water
    • 12 oz. extra-firm silken tofu
    • 1/4 c. Splenda
    • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 2 tbsp. fresh ginger juice (grate the ginger root and           squeeze to extract juice)


    Combine cocoa powder and hot water in a stainless steel bowl. Cook slowly over a hot water bath for 5 minutes until the mixture is like fudge. In a food processor, blend tofu for 1 minute, add fudge, Splenda, vanilla extract and ginger juice and blend until smooth. Place mixture in parfait glass. Garnish with raspberries or as desire and serve cold.

    *Makes 4 servings.

    For more healthy desserts, click on the following link: http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/cooking-ideas/8-diet-friendly-desserts-bake-your-valentine



  • National Toothache Day

    by Haley Thomas | Feb 09, 2017

    It is not out of the ordinary for patients to ignore dental discomfort in hopes that the pain will eventually go away on its own. Unfortunately, a mild discomfort can eventually turn into unrelenting pain, making it difficult to eat, sleep, or sometimes even talk and often times is not easily relieved without professional dental treatment.

    While toothaches are nothing to celebrate, National Toothache Day can bring awareness of how to prevent toothaches from occurring.

    Since most toothaches are a result of tooth decay, practicing good oral hygiene can help prevent them. Good oral hygiene consists of brushing regularly, flossing once a day, and seeing your dentist as often as advised for check-ups and regular dental cleanings. Avoiding sugary foods and acidic drinks can also help prevent toothaches.

    Over-the-counter medications can treat a toothache in short-term, but professional dental treatment may still be required to completely resolve the issue. Little toothaches can lead to big problems, so it is important that symptoms are checked as soon as possible. 

  • Let 2017 Be the Year You Quit Smoking

    by Haley Thomas | Jan 30, 2017

    Every year, smoking tobacco claims the lives of more than 480,000 Americans—that’s nearly one in every five deaths. More than 6 million people die around the world annually, and according to cancer.org, 30% of those deaths are from cancer and other diseases caused by smoking side effects. A CDC fact sheet states that more deaths are caused by tobacco every single year than deaths from illicit drug abuse, alcohol use, HIV, road accidents, and gunshots combined. In fact, tobacco has caused more deaths in the United States than all of the American wars combined.

    Smoking increases the risk of serious health problems, many diseases, and is the leading cause of preventable death. Many individuals think that smoking only affects your lungs, but according to the CDC, smoking harms nearly every organ of the body. Tobacco smoke contains a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals; hundreds of which are harmful, and about 70 of them can cause cancer. Not only can smoking lead to lung cancer, but smoking can also cause cancer in several other organs, such as oral cavity, lips, bronchus, esophagus, larynx, stomach, pancreas, kidney, liver, nasal cavity, colon, rectum, and trachea.

    It’s no surprise that people who stop smoking greatly reduce their risk for disease and early death. While health benefits are greater for people who stop at earlier ages, there are still several benefits of quitting at any age. It is important to know that you are NEVER too old to quit.

    According to the CDC, smoking cessation is associated with the following health benefits:

    • Lowered risk for lung cancer and many other types of cancer.
    • Reduced risk for heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease (narrowing of the blood vessels outside your heart).
    • Reduce heart disease risk within 1 to 2 years of quitting.
    • Reduced respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. While these symptoms may not disappear, they do not continue to progress at the same rate among people who quit compared with those who continue to smoke.
    • Reduced risk of developing some lung diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, one of the leading causes of death in the United States).
    • Reduced risk for infertility in women of childbearing age. Women who stop smoking during pregnancy also reduce their risk of having a low birth weight baby.

    There are so many reasons not to smoke, but finding one good reason to smoke is virtually impossible. It’s undoubtedly tough to kick habits such as smoking, but when you do, you will start seeing positive impacts of quitting smoking in just a few weeks. Quitsmokingcommunity.org states that for instance, within weeks your cough goes away and your teeth and skin start looking better, within one year the risk of having a heart attack drops significantly, and within 2 to 5 years, the risk of mouth, lung, and other cancers drop sharply. If you want to quit, but don’t know where to start, schedule an appointment with your family physician or click on this link here for other helpful tips.

    For more information, go to http://quitsmokingcommunity.org  and https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/cessation/quitting/